Front Page Titles (by Subject) IV: Politics, War, and Peace - Literature of Liberty, Autumn 1980, vol. 3, No. 3
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IV: Politics, War, and Peace - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, Autumn 1980, vol. 3, No. 3 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Politics, War, and Peace
The themes of militarism, tolerance for social and cultural diversity, and the insidious effects of political bureaucracy introduce us, in this group of summaries, to the critical role played by government and politics in determining whether mankind enjoys peace or suffers war. The remaining summaries represent case studies of the relationship between government and a foreign policy of expansionism and imperialism. Earlier treatments of similar issues of foreign policy and militarism are to be found in the October/December, 1979 and the Summer 1980 issues of Literature of Liberty.
An Anatomy of Militarism
“Militarism, its Dimensions and Corollaries: An Attempt at Conceptual Clarification.” Journal of Peace Research 16, No. 3(1979).
The term “militarism” is commonly used both for analytical and propaganda purposes to label and condemn widely differing phenomena. In the liberal tradition of the West, most writers emphasize the notion of excess when discussing militarism, while Marxists link the term directly to imperialsim and monopoly capitalism. Borrowing elements from both traditions, the author suggests that a discussion of the meaning of militarism can be organized along three dimensions: (1) the behavioral, (2) the attitudinal or ideological, and (3) the structural.
From one point of view, behavior is the most crucial dimension of militarism. Militarist social structure and ideology are worrisome mainly because they incite violent behavior. The behavioral dimension grows more complicated when one introduces the distinction between latent and actual use of violence. Brinksmanship and the policy of deterrence involve the skillful “nonuse” of military force. Obviously, both actual and latent use of violence may reach the point of excess. While no consensus has been reached as to the dividing line between appropriate and excessive violent behavior we can identify a number of points along a scale from Gandhian pacifism to genocide which provide a more convenient framework for discussion.
On the attitudinal level, the author stresses that, unlike natural catastrophes, wars result from human decision. Debate has long raged among researchers concerning which factors lead to decisions to resort to organized violence. The school of Konrad Lorenz relates aggression to a psychologically programmed fighting instinct, while Marxists maintain that violent attitudes and ideology derive from the aggression implicit in certain economic relations. Undoubtedly, individual values play a large role in disposing a person and groups of persons toward violent behavior. Studies have detected a high correlation between militarist attitudes and high scores on scales such as pessimism concerning human nature, extraversion (i.e., dependence on the social environment for opinions and motivations), misanthropy, social irresponsibility, lack of empathy, and egoism.
Turning to structural dimension, we observe that nation-states with their near monopoly on the legitimate use of force differ widely in the organizaiton of civilianmilitary relationships (level of military spending, consumption of natural resources, diversion of talent to military uses, control of military by civilian authorities, etc.). At the heart of the military-industrial complex in industrialized countries lies not only the common interests of business and military leaders, but also the political interests of politicians whose electorate depends on high military procurement. In undeveloped nations, a strong military is often considered essential to the maintenance of order and the bolstering of national pride and economic development. Powerful nations have nurtured these seeds of militarism in poorer countries in order to increase their own international influence. Transfer of arms and military technology, as well as the training of local personnel, have thus become tools of the strong for the subjection of the weak.
As a partial antidote to the militarist syndrome, Prof. Skjelsbaek recommends a vigorous educational campaign on the part of anti-militarist groups around the world. Before such an effort can be undertaken, however, a foundation of tolerance and cooperation must be established between groups which see a legitimate, though limited role for the military and those which reject all forms of organized violence regardless of circumstances.
Tolerance and Cultural Diversity
“The Plural Society and the Western Political Tradition.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 12(December 1979): 675–688.
Population mobility in the Western world and a growing sense of ethnic identity raise the question of whether societies can successfully accommodate populations of diverse cultural traditions. What are the attitudes toward multicultural societies as reflected in Western political philosophy from Ancient Greece to the present day. The overview reveals a general lack of sympathy for cultural plurality throughout the Western tradition.
At the very beginning of that tradition, Aristotle was “locked into the world of the polis” and developed an ethnocentric view which opposed Greek and barbarian and allowed little room for creative interaction between the two. Such a perspective was consistent with the narrow political context in which the philosopher found himself. The conquests of Alexander, however, abruptly widened the horizons of the Greeks as they assumed control over radically different peoples and cultures.
From a political viewpoint, the Stoic school with its bold assertion of the unity of mankind represents the most important result of this Hellenistic expansion of cultural perspective. However, Stoic doctrine tended to discount or disregard cultural differences in order to emphasize mankind's common heritage under the rule of divine reason. As a result, the ancient world's most durable experiment in cultural coexistence, Imperial Rome, owed less to Stoic universalism than to a “long pragmatic accumulation of cultural contacts.”
During the Middle Ages, the vigorous cultural diversity of Europe evolved more because of the collapse of government machinery than from any firm commitment to pluralism. In addition, the Church's insistence on doctrinal orthodoxy undoubtedly gave impetus to attempts at imposing social uniformity. The near-destruction of Provencal culture during the Albigensian Crusade is a case in point.
While Reformation churches also required uniformity of belief, the plurality of religious doctrine in areas such as Switzerland encouraged a new tolerance for divergent opinions. Over a period of centuries, the spirit of toleration spread to most parts of the West. Thus, the Reformation Fathers unwittingly became the most potent catalysts for social pluralism in the Western tradition.
Nevertheless, countervailing forces were to be found in the secular world. The rise of the centralizing and homogenizing nation-state drew intellectual support from such thinkers as Bodin and Hobbes. Assuming a “similitude of passions” within the human race, Hobbes established a science of politics which as aimed at suppressing every major source of human variation, including individual temperament.
While the idea of community resurfaced in the eighteenth century among such divergent thinkers as Rousseau and Edmund Burke, the burgeoning nationalist movement quickly adopted it to help eliminate the pluralist political regimes of Central and Eastern Europe. The lone voice among liberals to question nationalist monoculturalism was that of Lord Acton. Acton saw the multicultural state as the best safeguard against the rise of despotism. In his view, its diverse elements would also assure the creativity and regeneration of the commonwealth.
Although the Western tradition has largely discouraged pluralism, the West may possess “untapped resources” in this area, as well as some capacity to adapt. As a systematic effort at analysis and synthesis, he suggests a closer scrutiny of Western elements favorable cultural diversity, a comparison of non-Western pluralist traditions, selective borrowing of material from psychology and sociology, and a systematic study of pragmatic responses to cultural pluralism. Without such a general examination of the question, McRae asserts, our discussions of the individual and society or of man and the state will prove empty, since we will have failed to take full account of the variety of mankind.
Polish State Bureaucracy
“On Some Contradictions of Socialist Society: The Case of Poland.” Soviet Studies 31(April 1979): 167–187.
As a Marxist living in Eastern Europe, Prof. Staniszkis has had a lifetime in which to observe the institutionalized inanities of life in a socialized society. In an unusually frank essay written in Warsaw for the University of Glasgow, this Polish intellectual presents a minute analysis of the self-defeating practices which characterize the often halting operations of her country's social, political, and economic system.
At the root of Poland's contradictory way of life, Prof. Staniszkis finds a bureaucracy which lacks legitimacy in the Weberian sense of the term. Instead of following disinterested rules and procedures by which it might acquire the sanction of the population, Polish bureacracy operates largely through charisma, constantly violating announced policy to take account of “exceptional cases.”
At the top of the administrative pyramid, the ruling group has arrogated to itself a secular infallibility, so that each new program is presented as “objectively true” and linked with “objective social laws.” Armed with this dogmatism, the ruling group has eliminated all self-regulatory mechanisms for testing its policies (such as the free market or other feedback loops). In cases where mistakes occur, they are often not corrected, since admission of error would compromise the omniscience of the bureaucracy and of the Communist party. Thus, official emphasis on the development of the production goods sector stubbornly persists even when a large percentage of Polish industrial equipment lays idle. The ever-expanding structure of enforced miscalculations has become an “artificial reality” to which everyone must pay lip service.
As a result of a system based partly on illusion, crisis has become a recurrent motif of life in Poland. Economic or political up-heavals induce the intransigent leadership and bureaucracy to “make reforms.” However, these are usually palliatives (such as clemency for protest leaders), which allow “artificial reality” to regain its absurd sway over the country.
Since the Polish state requires tangible signs of allegeance to a manifestly irrational system, an all-perfading hypocrisy saps the spiritual vitality of the nation. Among the middle class in this “classless” society”, superior language abilities have spawned a curious game. A manager or scientist may mouth the official, ritualized rhetoric, but with a certain debonnair irony which tells those in-the-know that he does not take these clichés seriously. This practice fosters the illusion of preserving one's personal integrity, but at the cost of depriving political and individual expression of the force of sincerity. The strange inarticulate quality of protest in Poland reveals the impotence of irony as a tool for achieving political reform.
Workers also recognize the emptiness of the official political vocabulary, but they lack the linguistic skill for the subtleties of irony. As a result, they often vent their frustrations by gratuitous acts of violence against the symbols and representatives of power. Despising the only political language they know, striking workers present mostly economic demands, which skirt the real problems of the working class.
Professor Staniszki's clumsily maintained status quo “leads not only to waste of the human and ecomonic potential of the system, but also to deep inner corruption and the corrosion of...ideology and the regime's legitimacy.” “My prognosis for the future,” she writes, “is not very optimistic.”
U.S. Interventionism & “Human Rights”
“U.S. Foreign Policy: The Revival of Interventionism.” Monthly Review 31(February 1980):15–27.
The “human rights” emphasis in President Carter's foreign policy has been a transitional policy aimed at overcoming domestic and foreign opposition to U.S. intervention. The loss of Vietnam and of the Indochina war demoralized public opinion and created distrust for the capabilities of America's foreign policymakers.
Carter's administration has projected a new set of “values” for the role of the U.S., the new means to the same ends of the Nixon/Ford administration: to develop an international network of loyal and supportive allies, to maintain a worldwide armed force with a capacity to defend economic interests, and the continued acquiesence of subordinate nations.
The Human Rights emphasis has been highly successful as a public relations policy: it has defused internal unrest by bringing the U.S. away from being a source of destruction. For example, the U.S. image has been transformed from being attacked for its crimes in Vietnam, to being the accuser of Vietnam for the cruel treatment of the “boat people.” She is now viewed as the virtuous humanitarian saving the fleeing refugees with welcome arms.
Thus the image of the United States as a moral leader has been rehabilitated. The renewed pursuit of “morality” has been put to service in reconstituting the U.S.’s interventionist capacity. Former critics in the Third World have been won over: similarly, improved relations with allies in Europe were strongly influenced by Carter's human rights emphasis.
As social upheavals continuously disturbed various countries, causing waves of unrest in neighboring states, the right wing's response has been a clamor for action. Carter has been hesitant to undermine the fragile internal consensus and has avoided any kind of largescale warfare. However, there has been a gradual shift toward selective involvement of U.S. interventionism and military aid. Specifically, since late 1978 human rights groups have been losing influence in Washington D.C. The military budget has increased, arm sales have increased, and new military aid programs have been implemented and increased in the Mid-East, in Central America, and in Southeast Asia.
The new aggressive posture of the U.S. towards Third World concerns have also served to distract attention from internal problems. In a recent presidential address President Carter blamed OPEC for America's unemployment, inflation, declining standards of living, and the energy crisis. Cleverly and subtly, Carter aroused a sense of U.S. nationalism by polarizing “us” vs. “them,” and gave new life to a growing hostility to the injustices visited upon “innocent” U.S. citizens. “Better to intervene against the greedy Arab oil millionaires than to wait in gas lines on Main Street.”
In short, U.S. foreign policy has gone a full circle from 1976, and the 80s promise to be a period of growing confrontation. As the Third World changes from being a passive “human rights” victim to being an active protagonist in social revolutions, the U.S. is shifting from being a critic of repression, to a promoter of economic and military intervention.
The U.S. and the Mexican War
“Lessons of the Mexican War.” Pacific Historical Review 47(August 1978): 325–342.
Historians have scarcely recognized the dilemma of the Mexican War that faced President James Polk's administration in the year preceding the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. The President's policies achieved the goals Polk had in mind at the onset of the war—that of acquiring the territories of New Mexico and California, and extricating U.S. forces from Mexico. However, the success of the traty rested largely on the good fortune that Polk's agent, Nicholas Trist, disobeyed presidential orders to leave Mexico and negotiated the treaty with Mexican officials.
Polk was facing a divided United States that was becoming increasingly frustrated with the prolonged continuation of the war. The reasons for the public's support of United States involvement in the war were diverse ranging from a desire to a expand the vast territory of North America to fulfilling the supposed “White Man's Destiny” by socially and politically regenerating the “inferior Mexican race.” American anti-imperialists, however, questioned the Polk's integrity in allowing the war to continue without substantial victories, especially since the basic motivation of the war was imperialistic.
Despite the criticism against Polk, the general consensus agreed that there was no alternative except to excalate the war in order to hasten and ensure its end. The government of Mexico was in such shambles that surrender was given within six months.
In the Mexican War military means were more potent than diplomatic in compelling a backward nation that has neither political traditions nor material achievements to defend. But the war also proved that the transition from war to peace is far more achievable and permanent if the terms of peace are limited, tangible, and realistic.
Spain and the Imperial Myth
“Spain: The Spanish Problem and the Imperial Myth.” Journal of Contemporary History 15(January 1980):5–25.
The year 1898 became known as the ‘Year of Disaster’ for Spain, as the Treaty of Paris brought to a head the ‘Spanish problem.’ At the signing of the Treaty, Spain surrendered the last shreds of a once vast overseas empire. Her navy lay in the bed of the Pacific or the Caribbean, sunk in two brief battles with almost contemptuous ease by the American fleet. The demolition of the Spanish illusion of grandeur threw a large part of the politically aware population into a state of shock and despair. The agonized reaction of so many Spaniards to the Disaster of 1898 contrasted sharply with the relative equanimity displayed towards the loss of the world's most extensive overseas empire, stretching from Cape Horn to the borders of present-day Canada, during the 1820s.
As Spain entered the nineteenth century, she was secure in her role as an imperial power, and just glimpsing the potential of industrialization. Here, says Blinkhorn, opens the room to doubt as to whether Spain's empire could ever have become the industrialized world power she perceived herself to be. Easy colonial wealth contributed to the Spanish bourgeoisie's persistent lack of economic enterprise and its ready acceptance of rural-aristocratic values. In summary, the Spanish rulers maintained a reactionary outlook in government clinging to illusions of days-gone-by, despite rapidly changing world affairs outside Spain. The full outcome of territorial loss of the 1820 revolution was never quite realized in Spain. Had the entire overseas empire been relinquished by 1830, it is at least conceivable not only that Spain's economic and social development might have been healthier. Given a decade or two, Spain might have adjusted more comfortably to a second-class status, which was finally and brutally forced upon her in 1898.
As Spain gradually came to accept that the independence of the Spanish-American mainland was an accomplished fact, her rulers' determination to cling fast to the Antilles and the Philippines only increased until it became a virtual obsession. From the 1860s the view prevailed in political circles that Spain's “greatness,” self-respect, prosperity, and internal peace depended in large part upon keeping her surviving colonies, and above all, Cuba.
This notion of Spain seeking to return to her former stature, when her governing elite clung to a fantasy of national greatness inspired by her imperial past and largely dependent upon her continuation as a colonial power, is central to any understanding of the malaise which was produced by the 1989 Disaster. It did not precipitate the downfall of the monarchy, but it did inject new life into Republicanism, which eventually seized power in 1931.
U.S. Imperialism: Indian & Filipinos
“United States Indian Policy and the Debate over Philippine Annexation: Implications for the Origins of American Imperialism.” The Journal of American History 66(March 1980):810–836.
The author argues against the conventional view that American imperialism began in 1898 (annexation of the Philippines and the Spanish-American war), on the grounds that our policy towards annexing the Philippines was set by our treatment of the American Indians. Imperialists themselves made this argument, and Williams suggests historians would do well to take this view seriously.
Williams claims that the Indians were colonized. They were culturally different people who, because of their dissimilarities with most Americans, were not incorporated into the political process but were enveloped by the United States without being given citizenship rights. Such colonization began with a change in Indian status from being regarded as a sovereign nation (as defined by treaty), to that of “domestic dependent nations” or “wards” (as defined by Chief Justice Marshall). By 1871, Congress stopped making treaties with the Indians, and the Supreme Court ruled that Congress could override an old treaty simply by statute. By 1885, the Court held that the Indians were only “local dependent communities” and that those born on the reservations were not granted citizenship rights as defined by the 14th Amendment. By the end of the century, the federal government had virtually unlimited power over the Indians. They were powerless subjects with no rights or treaty guarantees that the government had to respect.
This colonial status of the Indians was used by the imperialist as a model for the alien subject people overseas (in the Philippines). Imperialism abroad was compared to expansionism at home, and since the imperialists favored the former, the stage was set for the argument that annexing the Philippines involved continuity with the past. Since expansionism in the United States meant progress, which in turn meant conquering the Indians, then it followed that incorporation of non-contiguous people as alien subjects was not a dramatic change.
The imperialist argument goes as follows: (1) Alaska was noncontiguous, and neither that territory nor the Indian or New Mexican territories would be states unless Anglo Saxons had populated them. (2) The distance of the Philippines created no problem for government control. When California was annexed in 1848, it was less accessible than the Philippines were in the early twentieth century (given modern technology). Furthermore, the western territories were “colonies” and no different from overseas territories; that is, in both cases Congress had supreme and total power to do with them what they pleased.
The anti-imperialist argued against annexation by insisting that the American form of government involved consent by the governed—hardly the case with the Philippines Islands. The imperialists refuted that statement by using the Indian colonization as a precedent. Most anti-imperialists accepted nonconsensual expansion in Indian lands. As Henry Cabot Lodge, a leading imperialist, commented, if the anti-imperialists are right, then “our whole past record of expansionism is a crime.” Since most anti-imperialists did not view expansionism as a crime, they either denied the Indian analogy or ignored the issue entirely.
Another comparison between the treatment of the Indians and the Filipinos can be seen in both the voting record on Indian policy and foreign imperialism as well as the rhetoric in the Congressional debates. In the former case, there is a strong correlation between Congressmen's votes on Indians and foreign annexation. In the latter case, the rhetoric of civilization versus barbarism was quite strong, as was the belief that both Indians and Filipinos were barbarians. Imperialist rhetoric also affected the 1899–1902 war, which was viewed by most soldiers and officers as an Indian war. Most soldiers and officers who fought in the war had fought in the Indian wars in the west. Because of this, the U.S. army was probably more prepared to fight a guerrilla war at that time than any time subsequently.
Given all the above information, Williams concludes that the events in 1898–1902 did not involve a noted departure in the foreign affairs behavior of the American government.
Filipino Resistance to U.S. Imperialism
“Filipino Resistance to American Occupation; Batangas, 1899–1902. Pacific Historical Review 48(November 1979):531–556.
The author discusses Filipino reaction to the Philippine-American war in 1899–1902, specifically in the province of Batangas. The Batanguenos had just become free from alien rule by defeating the Spanish in mid-1898 when war broke out between America and Aguinaldo's (president of the Philippine Republic) forces. The Batanguenos were led by Michael Malvar, a wealthy landowner, businessman, and government official. Most of Malvar's support came from the elite, who were educated abroad in Spanish schools and thus imbibed European liberal nationalist Lockean/Rousseauian ideas. The masses were less enthusiastic, as most were drafted into Malvar's army, and generally gave less zealous support to the cause.
For the first year of the war, fighting took place in provinces outside of Batanga. However, in January of 1900, the Americans invaded and conquered the municipalities, and Malvar's forces headed for the mountains and the outlying areas. From then on, Malvar's forces engaged in guerrilla warfare against overwhelming odds.
To be successful, Malvar needed noncombatant support. In the first year, covert resistance to American rule was widespread, particularly among the elite, and instances of collaboration with the Americans were rare. Most civilians, however, just tried to survive as best they could. By 1901, however, the enthusiasm of Malvar's forces began to wane, collaboration with the enemy increased, and President Aguinaldo was captured. Still, Malvar kept the resistance alive (partly by threatening the people in the areas he controlled).
However, the American army ultimately prevailed. Though the invaders originally employed nonmilitary methods (e.g., setting up schools and municipal governments), the policy changed to one of severe military tactics as it became clear that nonmilitary methods weren't working. Americans found it difficult to distinguish noncombatants from guerrillas and came to despise all Filipinos, civilians, and guerrillas. American forces tortured suspected supporters of Malvar and burned the barriers from which attacks on the Americans emanated. Later in the war, when Brigadier General Bell (a veteran of the Indian wars) took over, American methods became even harsher. Bell established his “concentration” policy designed to insulate the guerrillas from the non-combatants and deprive the former of food. In each town in Batanga, Americans established “zones” in which residents were guaranteed “protection” against attacks by Malvar's forces. Outside of these zones, property was destroyed or confiscated, travel was forbidden except by those with special passes, and those who refused to enter the zones were tortured. In addition, Bell ordered the arrest of all known supporters of Malvar and punished all those who refused to cooperate. Bell's policies led to widespread suffering: food was scarce in the zone, thousands died of disease or starvation, and many areas outside the zones were reduced to rubble, but the methods helped to win the war for America.
Though scattered opposition to American rule continued through 1910, most Batanguenos accommodated themselves to the Americans. This was due, says the author, to these factors: first, they had little choice since ousting the Americans by force seemed hopeless; second, American schools provided more opportunities for some Filipinos; third, Americans provided benefits such as sanitation, roads, food relief, etc.; fourth, by permitting suffrage only to Filipinos with wealth, education, and previous governmental experience, the Americans kept the elite dominant in the new Philippines.
The author concluded by noting that the Batanguenos' response differed from that discussed by Teodoro Agoncillo in his study of resistance in Manila and Cavite. Agoncillo saw the elite collaborating, and the masses resisting, while in Batangas such a rigid opposition did not exist and the elites tended to be more hostile to American rule. Nor does the Batanguenos' resistance fit the pattern in Pampanga, as described by John Larkin. There the populace tried to maintain good relations with both the Americans and the guerrillas, and accepted American rule after Aguinaldo was captured. In Batanga, the resistance was stronger and lasted until the very end. Batanguenos' opposition was stronger because they were preparing for the invasion up until 1900. Malvar was a competent military leader, the people were the same ethnic composition as the Filipino republic leaders, and the elite's contribution helped promote tenacious resistance.
The Origins of World War I
“World War I: European Origins and American Intervention.” The Virginia Quarterly Review 56(Winter 1980):1–18.
World War I has often been compared to “Armageddon,” the nation-shattering miracle preceding the Last Judgment in the book of Revelation. The suddenness and magnitude of the conflict was the first time in history that the destructive deeds of man matched the disasters of nature.
Though the actual outbreak of complete war was sudden, tensions in the European continent had been brewing for years. The war sprang from two related breakdowns in mankind's proudest creation at the beginning of the twentieth century, the highly civilized nation-states of Europe. The countries were experiencing severe problems with relations among themselves. All the main European powers held grudges against each other for the control of territories and populations, imperial colonies in Africa and Asia, and assertions of political and economic influence.
Germany bore the heaviest responsibilities in encouraging tensions among nations by fomenting discord among rivals through imperialist crises in the Far East, Africa, and the Balkans. German actions reflected a reckless desire for expansionism. German leaders felt their destiny as a “world state with a world mission” would only be fulfilled by a “coming world war.” However, other nations were quick to react to Germany's aggression. These European countries were experiencing domestic strife that made the war a welcome relief to lay aside domestic troubles.
Britain was facing the growing militarism of the Labour Party, the rising voice of women suffrage, and an incipient civil war over Irish autonomy. The Socialists vs. the Nationalists were coming to heads in France; Germany's Social Democrats were emerging as the strongest single party and war seemed the only means to curb them.
Only Russia was gaining internal stability, due to her massive industrialization and sweeping land reforms. World War I did not cause these internal breakdowns, though it did accelerate the conditions. The United States viewed the European war with detachment, being geographically and morally removed from the conflicts. The sinking of the Lusitania raised the question of intervention for the first time, but Wilson maintained his policy of remaining neutral and seeking peace.
However, the Germans seemed unable to conceive of any other course except riding the war to total victory, and ignored U.S. demands to cease submarine warfare.
Wilson had two concerns for the escalating war: to end the conflict and to prevent any recurrence of such a war. He finally chose to intervene since the financial collapse for European allies was iminent. Belligerency seemed to Wilson the only means to a final and lasting peace among nations.
American intervention revolutionized World War I by saving the Allies from financial ruin; lending a moral boost to hold the Western front; and supplying fresh manpower for the final counteroffensive which ended the war on November 11, 1918. The European war became a global conflict by drawing in the Western Hemisphere and extending connections into the Pacific.
The far reaching effects of World War I were to take the focus off territorial appetites and imperial designs of nations and to explore new ways to conduct relations among nations by attempting to create an international order.
The decision by Wilson to intervene set the tone for the U.S. world role for the twentieth century. Despite Wilson's intentions, the war turned into a self-righteous crusade which confirmed a dangerous predilection in U.S. conduct of world affairs. “Thanks to him [Wilson] and to the long-running aftereffects of World War I, the United States has tried again and again to shape events that have seemed to others beyond human control. That has been America's glory and tragedy.”